Weirdest Place I’ve Ever Been? Inside My Own Head.

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This is a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. While not specifically travel-related, I think it reminds us that adventure can be found anywhere: overseas, at home and sometimes even in your own head.

During the early 90′s there was a rebirth of interest in spirituality, mind expansion and all things esoteric. Millions of us read books, watched videotapes or attended seminars devoted to all kinds of odd topics: crystals, trance states, chanting, meditation, dolphins, UFOs, channelling, smart drugs, shamanism, ear-candling, Wiccan bowling and more.

It was kind of a second, more-expensive New Age, but with less patchouli.

I was in my early twenties and open-minded so I dabbled in much of it. I meditated fairly regularly and spent hours running between the New Age and Self Help / Psychology sections of the bookstore. I built a mind machine, with blinking LEDs that did a fair job of relaxing you and then putting you to sleep. I tried but failed to figure out the I Ching and owned a tape of shamanic drumming that could bore you into a trance in twenty minutes.

I never really stuck with any one thing for long. There was too much of it to sample and if I didn’t see results right away, I’d get distracted and find myself back at the bookstore. One thing I did keep working at, however, was lucid dreaming: learning to wake up inside a dream and being able to control it.

It really wasn’t that hard to do — I’d had a few occur naturally already. I read a couple of books, kept a dream journal and soon found myself having several a week — it was fun. And I learned that while I was good at having them, controlling them was a different beast.

It seemed that once my brain started waking up, it insisted on waking all the way up. I’d realize I was dreaming and look around my environment, thinking excitedly “This is it!” Just as the squealing, topless cheerleaders would begin to parachute from the sky and the baby oil fountains fired up, the scene would bobble, spin and then fade as I woke up cursing.

I wasn’t getting in touch with my inner self — I was developing Tourette’s.

travel and lucid dreamingStill I kept at it, enjoying my occasional 30 seconds of God-mode, mostly because it’d become a habit and required so little effort. And too, because –let’s be honest– 1,000 flying topless cheerleaders is an impressive sight.

So I kept my journal by the bed, waking a few times a night to scribble a note that would prove incomprehensible the following morning.

Usually it was illegible scrawl but sometimes it was simply cryptic: “Cheese and the wombat. Twice!”

One thing I’d read about but not experienced was speaking to someone in the dream state. The reasoning went that you were conversing directly with your own subconscious mind, so it was a good time to ask for advice. Kind of cutting out the middle man, I suppose.

So when I found myself flying Superman-style one night, high above a desert plain and realized what was happening, I was thrilled to see an old man walking along below me. I swooped down and landed in front of him, eager to learn my own personal Deep Truth.

He was your standard Wise Man — ancient, wrinkled, dressed in a ragged robe and sporting long white hair and an unruly beard. He looked like God’s Grandpa. I remember thinking at the time, What a total cliche — is this really the best I can do?

Knowing I only had mere moments to interact, I opened my mouth and… and… nothing.

I couldn’t think of a single thing to ask him — I’d never really considered this part. What do you ask God’s Grandpa?

What I really wanted at the time was something like “Why are we here?”, “What happens when we die?”, or “How do you pick up women?” You know… the Big Questions.

But in my panicked state, I couldn’t think of a single worthy query. The color was draining out of the sky as the horizon crept closer and closer. Knowing that I only had seconds left I finally asked, simply, “What advice do you have for me?”

He looked me in the eye and paused for dramatic effect, his bushy eyebrows dancing in the wind. I ground my imaginary teeth. Finally, he said “You know, you really need to quit eating those frozen Mexican dinners”.

I was stunned. This being a dream, I’m pretty sure my eyes shot about a foot out of their sockets. “Are you shitting me?” I cried. “That’s it?!”

He shrugged apologetically and said “That’s all I got.” As he turned away everything tilted and flipped, the dream popping like a soap bubble as reality rushed in.

I woke up laughing.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina Koukkos February 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Love it, as usual.

I’m sure this was on purpose, but do keep in mind that you’re going to be getting some, um, “new readers” thanks to the many references to topless cheerleaders.

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wes February 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

D’oh! I didn’t think about that, to be honest. I was just telling the story from a 20-year-old’s point of view. Oh well. My #2 post today is the “Night in Bangkok’s Red Light District” post which is *nothing* like what they’re hoping to find ;)

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Christina Koukkos February 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Ha. You’re a blogger who posted a Google-friendly Freudian slip. Good to see you’re still a pioneer…

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wes February 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I got skillz, yo!

Irene February 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm

LOL Yup that was some great advice ;-)

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Lisa @chickybus February 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

You had one of those ‘mind machines’? So did I! LOL

Enjoyed this post a lot…it was hilarious. Also, it gave me some ideas for the interview I may do with you in the future. Looking forward to that! :)

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wes February 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

Heh, I stared at those blinky lights for hours. Trippy, dude….

Interview would be fun — I’ll try to sound smart.

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Jeremy Branham February 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I am not sure what is crazier – your dreams or what grandpa told you! :)

I would love to have more vivid dreams and remember them but not sure I would want to work that hard for it!

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Katrina February 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm

If only there were frozen Mexican dinners here. Italy has a complete dearth of Mexican food! …I know, I know — that’s all I took away from that?

No, not really. I’m just glad to find that God’s Grandpa is as irreverent as I am. Probably knows a lot about the dangers of processed food, too. Sweet!

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wes February 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

I know the feeling — when I was in Thailand for 6 months, I was *dying* for Mexican food. Now I’m craving Thai :/

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Greg Summerhayes February 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Some lovely images there Wes. Gave me a good giggle- Enjoying your adventures Take care– Greg

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wes February 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

Hey Greg! Glad you liked it. How are y’all doing down there? Staying out of trouble?

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Phil February 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I’ve been into lucid dreaming for a number of years myself. I always try to get more disciplined with, but my efforts usually fade out after a while. The shit’s real, though, that’s for sure. And while I can’t predictably have them, I have become a bit more sturdy during the dream itself. I can usually stretch out for a while. A few weeks ago, I became lucid and instead of trying to have sex with the first hot girl, I jumped three stories into an apartment building where a dance class was going on. Worked on my moves :) I’ve never had a wise man encounter, but if I do, I hope it’s as enlightening as this. Seriously, that is good advice.

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wes February 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

Ha! The dance class sounds like fun. I’ve had some pretty crazy ones, flying through space and such. I haven’t made any effort to have ‘em in years but they still pop up from time to time. Cheap fun ;)

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Candice February 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm

This was seriously one of the most entertaining things I’ve read in ages. Thank you! I totally want to try lucid dreaming now. This reminds me of the dream I had about Bill Murray dressed as a giant lobster named King Crab.

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wes February 7, 2012 at 8:48 am

Haha! Bill Murray as a giant lobster? That’s inspired.

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Nomadic Chick February 7, 2012 at 2:28 am

I haven’t commented on your site for a long while and read this: an LSD fuelled, hippie infused, tantric, toga wearing sage who tells you stop eating Mexican dinners in a dream? Welcome back, Jeannie. :)

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wes February 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

Thanks, Jeannie!

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TR February 7, 2012 at 4:44 am

Gotta admit, those frozen Mexican dinners are bad news. . . .

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Janet February 7, 2012 at 5:31 am

so did you stop eating them?? haha. i guess it could be pretty sage advice.

i haven’t heard of mind machines. i’m still young in my 20s so i think i missed the 90s new age wave but i feel like a big one is happening now too..

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wes February 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

I never ate another :)

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Marsha February 7, 2012 at 6:08 am

OMG–I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time…I love your way with words…and topless cheerleaders. Ha!

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April Neylan February 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Love this! Thanks for the laughs :)

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Raji February 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Interesting and hilarious :)

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Alouise February 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Hilarious. I’ve tried lucid dreaming but I could never get it to work for me. I don’t think I could give up Mexican dinners though, even if God’s Grandpa told me to.

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James February 12, 2012 at 3:15 am

nice. did you ever see the film ‘waking life’? good stuff. a quick download if you haven’t seen it. maybe you can start eating frozen thai food….you don’t fart as much……..

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Nomadic Chick February 12, 2012 at 4:45 am

I LUVVVV Waking Life. One of my top ten movies of all time. Challenges the notion of reality, how significant dreaming is and the connection to all human beings. Effing epic!

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Ayngelina February 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Oh my Wes, I never saw this post coming. But I agree on the frozen dinners :)

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Tom February 24, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Hah, enjoyed this one. I’ve always wanted to learn how to lucid dream, it’s only ever happened to me once or twice!

I did hear somewhere (no idea if it’s true or not), that too much of it can be bad for you because it makes your brain ‘active’ when it’s supposed to be doing processing/sleep related stuff. Still who cares about that when you can bring on thousands of parachuting topless cheerleaders at will!

I’m always jealous though when I hear about people who can do it :D

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wes April 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

I think it’s perfectly safe. Even when I worked hard at it I was never lucid more than a few minutes in a week. Out of 50+ hours of sleep…

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Torre February 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Can you please build me one of those mind machines with blinking LEDs for relaxation? I need one. Stat.

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Amer February 26, 2012 at 10:38 am

love this post..I too have been experiencing these sort of dreams and remembered them vividly..it is quite fun I must say being able to control your dreams. Believe it or not, my favourite dream is the multiple level ones just like Inception. It always confuses me when I woke up for ‘real’. But that’s another story! haha..

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Darcy Tara March 1, 2012 at 1:32 am

Hilarious and totally interesting as always.
Take care,
Darcy

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vignetti April 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Nicely done — good read, thanks.

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Maria April 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

“…with less patchouli.” Followed by baby oil fountains – that was the best laugh I’ve had in… well, at least a month. Thnx

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wes April 16, 2012 at 9:34 am

Thanks, Maria. Please say hi to Austin for me :)

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Micki June 21, 2012 at 12:37 am

Awesome… love this. Read this first a few months ago and rediscovered it on StumbleUpon tonight. Every bit as funny the second time :)

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